Fish stuck in filter heres how to prevent them from going back inAquarists searching the term ‘fish stuck in filter‘ are generally dealing with a missing specimen. A small-sized fish can get stuck in the filter pretty easily. But, if you’re going to protect your beloved pet from such an eventuality, you have only to read through this article.

Our aquarium maintenance experts will help you out, and you will learn how to prevent your fish from getting stuck to the filter effectively.

Why Are Your Fish Getting Stuck in the Filter?

The most common reason for fish getting stuck in the filter is the size of the fish. If you house small-sized fish and your filter has stronger wattage, you likely face this problem often.

Yet, here are some other reasons that might create a situation where you constantly feel worried that you will find your fish stuck in the filter.

– Filter Guard

The primary function of a filter guard is to prevent fish from getting sucked into the filter. However, if your filter has no guard and you have tiny fish in your aquarium, then your fish face a high probability of getting sucked into the filter.

– Size Of The Tank

If the fish tank where you house your fish collection is too small, you will find many fish hanging out by filter. The latter is due to the water that’s closer to the filter is more oxygenated, and it becomes easier for your fish to breathe.

Furthermore, fish need plenty of space to swim, and if you’ve crammed too many fish into a smaller fish tank, you will inevitably have one or two fish, particularly the smaller ones, getting stuck in the filter.

– Size Of Filter

The size of the filter is relevant too. If you have a reasonably-sized aquarium but a very large filter, there is a greater risk of finding your fish getting stuck to the filter.

The size of the filter determines the power at which the filter sucks in dirty water and throws back clean water after filtering.

Additionally, if the filter is too large, it will suck in water with too much force. There’s no way small-sized fish can swim away from the sucking pressure of a powerful filter; hence, fish found in the filter.

– The Proper Functioning Of A Filter

The purpose of placing a filter inside a fish tank is to suck in dirty water, filter it, and then throw it back into the aquarium. However, a filter needs regular and thorough maintenance as a cleaning device.

If your filter is not cleaned up routinely, it will accumulate quite a bit of filth. Sometimes the filter tends to suck more from a particular part of the filter where it is cleaner and reduces suction power in other filthier areas.

Consequently, your fish might get stuck into a filter when it crosses where the suction is the strongest. Over time, the functioning of the filter gets worse.

How To Keep Fish From Getting Stuck

Keeping the fish tank clean is an essential requirement for healthy fish. And, a filter makes your job easier keeping the water clean. However, if you are worried about fish getting stuck in the filter, you have only to follow a few precautionary steps to prevent fish from getting stuck to filter structures.

Additionally, you will be able to save your fish by simply implementing a few of the protective measures.

1. Increase Your Tank Size

One of the most straightforward and most apparent solutions if you perpetually find that your fish hangs out by filter devices is to increase the size of your tank. Too many fish living in cramped underwater quarters is a recipe for disaster.

You see, more fish need more swimming space, and it also means more dirty water hence a more robust filter. Depending on your fish collection, get a fish tank that will provide your fish with plenty of room to maneuver. However, if the fish tank is too small, your fish will have no choice but to be close to the filter, and the suction will invariably suck your fish in.

2. Put Up A Filter Guard

The first precautionary measure you should place inside your marine aquarium is putting a filter guard on the filter. By doing so, you will prevent fish from getting stuck inside the filter and get a grip on fish getting stuck to filter intake.

The filter guard ensures that no matter how small your fish are, or if it is fish fry, fish juveniles, long-finned fish, or just plain clumsy swimmers, your fish will be safe from getting stuck into the water filter and be protected from facing any injury.

Using a cheap yet high-quality foam pre-filter works like a charm in keeping your fish away from the filter and the filter intake. Note that, as these foam filters are designed for this purpose specifically, you will not have to worry about any possible contaminants or impurities harming your fish or the delicate marine habitat.

3. Use The Appropriate Filter

Many aquarium enthusiasts face the dilemma of being unable to choose the right size of filter for their fish tank. To ensure that the water in their fish tank is being filtered right, fish owners fall prey to acquiring an unsuitable filter for their small fish tank.

However, you have only to do a little research or use the expert knowledge of the pet store owner to get a filter that will match the size of your fish tank.

Even when you don’t have any fish fry, small-sized fish, or clumsy swimmers in your aquarium, if the filter suction is too strong, your fish will get sucked into the filter eventually as the strength of the suction will wear your fish down. A powerful suction of the filter can significantly increase the level of stress in your fish tank.

4. Set Up A Cleaning Up Schedule

The more routinely and thoroughly you clean up your fish tank and filter, the stronger you will make your fish. You see, cleaner waters mean healthy fish with better immunities. Yet, when you think of clean water, you don’t have to change your fish tank’s water every week.

No, if you frequently clean out the ick from your filter, prune the plants, vacuum the substrate, and refill water, you will have a healthy and safe habitat for your fish. Additionally, it also means that your filter will function adequately rather than creating greater suction in some spots and no suction in other areas.

FAQ Section

Novice fish owners often panic when they discover that their fish have gone missing. It would help if you only looked inside the filter or filter intake. For first-time fish keepers, here’s the FAQ section to help you navigate like a pro fish keeper.

1. Can Fish Die From Getting Stuck in the Filter?

Yes, it is common for fish to die when they get sucked inside a filter. But, the cause of death is usually being stuck inside the filter for a long time rather than getting in there in the first place.

The filter collects the dirt from the water, keeps the dirt in, and throws out clean, filtered water. Hence, it is a nasty place for your fish to be stuck inside the filter where all the gunk is stored.  Since there is very little oxygen in the water inside the filter where all of the filth is collected, making it is impossible for your fish to breathe.

Moreover, you must know that fish need to swim, and getting trapped inside a filter will curb your fish’s ability to swim. So, it would help if you always kept a close eye on your fish. If you ever notice that one of your fish has gone UA (unauthorized absence), you need to promptly look for it inside every possible nook or cranny, starting from the filter and filter intake.

2. How Can You Tell What Size of Aquarium Filter Is Right for the Fish Tank?

The ideal way to determine the correct filter size for your fish tank is to go with a filter with a flow rate that is at least six times the volume of the fish tank. Therefore, if your fish tank is 20 gallons, then your filter flow rate should be about 200 GPH (gallons per hour).

Technically, the water in your fish tank must pass through the filter four times each hour at the very least. If the filter fails, you will have a very murky fish tank and unhealthy fish on your hands.

Nonetheless, as mentioned earlier, you should aim for the flow rate of your filter to be higher than four. Going for a filter with a flow rate six times more will undoubtedly keep your fish tank shipshape in water quality.

You need to understand that if your fish tank holds more than a hundred gallons, you will need multiple filters. Note that if you want the filter to work efficiently, you need to set up a regular filter clean-up schedule.


Fish stuck in filterUsing the insight you have gained from our article, you are well-equipped to stop your fish from getting stuck in the filter or the filter intake. But let’s go over the finer points just to make sure you have it all down.

●    Small-sized fish often get stuck in the filter or the filter intake.

●    Fish can sustain injuries when they get stuck in the filter.

●    It would be best to take preventive measures to ensure that your fish are safe from such an eventuality.

●    Ensuring the right filter size and putting up a fish guard will go a long way in helping you out.

●    If you don’t know how to get the job done, you need not fret as you can easily hire an aquarium maintenance expert to get the work done for a fee.

It’s a pretty easy job now for you to save your fish from getting stuck in the filter or the filter intake. So, sit back, forget worrying about your fish getting hurt and enjoy watching your fish have a fab time.

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